Warning: Illegal string offset 'type' in /home/dev_4_anitahill20/anitahill20.org/public/wp-content/themes/conference/lib/php/extra.class.php on line 32

Warning: Illegal string offset 'type' in /home/dev_4_anitahill20/anitahill20.org/public/wp-content/themes/conference/lib/php/extra.class.php on line 32
WORD POWER | Anita Hill 20 Years Later


  • by Hope Anita Smith

    “It’s been too hard living but I’m afraid to die
    Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky
    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gon come, oh yes it will”*


    In the beginning
    Was God
    And long before He took a rib from
    Adam’s side
    God gave Adam dominion
    The Power to use his words…
    I work.
    I do my job.
    Type, file, answer phones
    Make a mean cup of coffee
    But when the boss calls me into his office
    I know my resume is lacking
    He runs his eyes up my skirt
    Lingering a little too long on the assets
    He did not find on my curriculum vitae.
    His eyes are feeling me up
    I try not to feel…
    I am on the other side of the room
    When he speaks
    His words reach out like
    brush against my breasts
    cup my behind.
    When I look displeased
    His mouth smiles and sends his words flying at
    My face like the backside of a raised hand.
    I feel the sting when he asks
    “Do you like your job?
    I want to say,
    Be a man, just hit me.
    He tells the joke about the woman who
    Just couldn’t get enough (if you know what I mean)
    Wink, wink.
    His words are erect
    I open my mouth, take them in
    I suck
    in my breath
    I swallow.
    Laugh like I’m one of the guys
    I’ve got 2 babies to feed
    Rent to pay
    And a car that occasionally runs.
    There are days when
    The weight of his words weighs heavy on me.
    I can’t get them off
    I am pinned down
    I can’t move
    I can’t breathe
    And I pray
    I won’t remember
    This violation
    This violence against me
    the only evidence is viva voce
    and there are no rape kits for words.
    I don’t want to testify
    It’s my word
    Against his
    My words are too small
    I think how can I fight?
    And the answer comes to me
    how can I not?

    My “no more” grabs him by the balls
    Puts them in a vice grip
    I take dictation and
    Discover two new words
    Slight and piddling
    He’s not so big
    My words join hands
    Gain courage and confidence as they hold on to each other
    There is strength in numbers
    The power of my words cause him to shrivel up
    I word up
    Reveal every bruise
    Submit every dirty, slimy word that fondled, stroked, patted, caressed, grazed,
    I say it again
    No more.
    And ladies,
    Know more.
    Know your place.
    Know you have one.
    And it’s not on his lap
    On your knees
    Or lying prostrate across his desk
    No more.
    And no. I didn’t ask for it
    But it stops here
    No more.
    I may not win
    But I will fight
    I can’t win if I don’t fight
    I win
    Because I fight
    I will be heard.

    “There been times that I thought I wouldn’t last for long
    Now think I’m able to carry on
    It’s been a long, along time coming but I know
    A change gon’ come, oh yes it will”*


    *Lyrics to “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke (1964)